Bastard daughter to the king, Rosamunde was raised in a convent and wholly
prepared to take the veil... until the good King Henry showed up with the reluctant
husband in tow for her. Suddenly, she found herself promising to love, honor,
and obey Aric... But Rosamunde's eduction had not covered a wedding night, and
the stables were a poor example for an untried girl. Would Aric bite her neck
like the animals did their mates? The virile warrior seemed capable of such animal
passion, but his eyes promised something sweeter. And Rosamunde soon learned that
while she may have trouble with obeying him, it would not be hard to love her
new husband forever.
Lynsay's newest book proves she is a writer to watch. When I am reading anything by Lynsay, I am always smiling or laughing out loud!! So many times when someone tries the light touch with historical, their heroine comes out like an idiot. Lynsay deftly walks that fine line between jest and joke, with intelligent resourceful characters that often do silly things - but for good reasons!! Most especially, her books are never contrived.
In Always, her Rosamunde is a gently raised fartherless daughter of King Henry, and just before his death he arranges a marriage for her to Alric. He is coming off a bad engagement and has little trust for women, but sees no choice in the forced marriage. While Rosamunde is not totally against the idea of a husband, she brings a vast lacking in knowledge to the marriage bed due to the concepts instilled in her by the nuns . Rosemunde is an adorable, charming, witty character and one you will long remember. I read a lot, so often books tend to blur together. Years from now I will think of Rosamunde and remember her well!! Pick up Lynsay Sands and you are guaranteed a good time!! By Debra MacGillivray on Amazon.
From the laugh-out-loud moments right from the start to the tender moments between Aric and Rosamunde I was completely captivated. I really didn’t know what to expect since I’ve only read Lynsay Sand’s Argeneau series, but goodness was I pleasantly surprised! The opening scene between Aric and Robert, then King Henry, Aric and Robert, had me so engaged with these characters that I readily knew that Always was going to be an entertaining read, if not added as one of my favorites. Leona at Goodreads.
Lady Adela, Abbess of Godstow frowned down the length of the table at the nuns
all seated for the nooning meal. Sister Clarice, Sister Eustice, and Lady Rosamunde
were missing. It was not unusual for Sister Clarice to be late. The woman was
late for everything for one reason or another. Most like she had forgotten to
fetch the incense for the mass that would take place after the meal, and had gone
to rectify the situation. Sister Clarice always forgot the incense. As for Sister
Eustice and Lady Rosamunde, however, they were both most punctual as a rule. However,
they had not been at the morning meal either. Come to that, they had not been
at Matins, Lauds, or Prime. It generally took an emergency to keep a nun from
mass, and this was no exception. Sister Eustice and Lady Rosamunde had been in
the stables through the night and well into the morning, working over a laboring
mare who was having difficulty birthing her foal.
But surely they were not still at that, she fretted, then glanced sharply toward
Sister Beatrice when she stumbled over the passage she was reading. Seeing that
she, along with all the other women were peering up the table at her, Lady Adela
arched an eyebrow questioningly, then glanced to Sister Margaret, the nun seated
on her right as she made a motion with her hands. Sister was holding one hand
up, the fingers fisted but for the baby finger which hung down like the udder
of a cow. With her other hand, she was imitating the motion of milking.
Adela blinked at her briefly, then realized that she had picked up the pitcher
of milk and then held onto it thoughtlessly as she worried over the women missing
from the meal.
Passing the pitcher of milk to Sister Margaret, the Abbess gestured to the
others to continue with their meal, then rose and moved toward the door. She had
barely stepped into the hall when she spotted Sister Clarice hurrying down the
corridor, a slightly guilty flush to her face. Unable to speak during meal time,
Lady Adela once again arched an eyebrow, demanding an explanation of the woman.
Sighing, Clarice raised her hand and propped two fingers upward until they
were inserted in her nostrils, somehow managing an apologetic look as she did.
The action was pantomime to announce that she had forgotten to provide incense
for mass as Adela had suspected. Shaking her head at the other woman, she gestured
for her to continue on to her meal, then made her way out to the stables.
The building was silent but for the faint rustle of hay as various animals
shifted and glanced curiously toward her as the Abbess entered. Gathering the
hem of her skirt close to avoid it trailing through anything unpleasant, Adela
made her way down the rows of stalls until she reached the last one where Sister
Eustice and Lady Rosamunde were kneeling by a panting mare. She stood there for
a moment, peering affectionately at their bent backs as they toiled over the laboring
animal, then her mouth dropped with dismay as Sister Eustice shifted and she could
see exactly how Lady Rosamunde was toiling.
"What in God's name are you doing?!"
Rosamunde stiffened at that horrified exclamation from behind, her head whipping
briefly around to see the Abbess gaping at her with dismay. Then she swiftly whirled
back to soothe the mare as the animal whinnied, her muscles shifting around her
Leaping to her feet, Eustice ushered the horrified woman a few steps away,
babbling explanations as they moved. "The mare was having difficulty. She
labored for hours before we realized that the foal was backward. Lady Rosamunde
is trying to help."
"She has her hands inside the mare!" Adela pointed out with horror.
"She is trying to turn the foal," Eustice explained quickly.
"Is it not the nooning hour?" Rosamunde asked with exasperation,
removing the hand she had been holding the foal's feet with to pat the mare's
rump soothingly. The animal was becoming distressed by the tone of voice the Abbess
"This is an emergency. God will forgive our breaking our silence during
meal time if 'tis an emergency," Adela responded promptly.
"Aye, well, let us hope the mare does," Rosamunde muttered, shifting
swiftly out of the way as the horse began kicking her legs in a panicked attempt
to regain her feet.
Sister Eustice moved at once, hurrying to the horses head and grabbing it to
hold it still while murmuring soothing coos at the frightened animal.
Worry tugging at her brow now, Adela managed to contain herself as Rosamunde
dropped back to her knees at the rear of the reclining horse. Unlike Sister Eustice,
who was garbed in the plain gown of a nun, the girl was decked out in a stable
boy's pants and overlarge top, the billowing sleeves rolled back to leave her
arms bare. It was the costume the girl usually wore when working in the stables.
She felt it much more appropriate and Adela, despite her better judgment, had
done little to sway her from wearing the outlandish garb. There was no one of
import around to disapprove anyway. However, she had already explained to the
child that she would have to shed the stable boy's clothes for good, along with
many other things, once she took the veil and became a nun.
Adela's thoughts fled, her face twisting into a half grimace, half wince as
Rosamunde once again eased her hands into the mare, reaching to grasp the foal
and try to turn it to ease it's way into the world.
"Thank the Good Lord's graces that your father, the King, is not here
to see this," Adela murmured, remembering to keep her voice calm lest she
frighten the horse again.
"To see what?"
All three women stiffened at that deep baritone. Eustice's eyes widened in
horror as she peered past the Abbess toward the entrance to the stables. Her expression
was enough to tell Adela that she had correctly recognized that voice. The Lord,
it seemed, was not feeling particularly gracious today. The King had come in time
to see what his daughter got up to under her care.
Straightening her shoulders, Adela turned resignedly toward the King, hardly
noticing the men with him as she forced a smile of greeting to her face. "My
Henry II nodded at the Abbess, but his attention was on his daughter as she
glanced over her shoulder at him, a bright smile replacing the anxiety on her
Henry started to smile, then frowned instead as he took in the sight of her.
"What the Devil are you doing in the stables, girl? And all dressed up like
a stable lad too." He frowned beetle-eyed at Adela. "Do I not pay you
people enough to hire a stable boy? Do you spite me by putting my daughter to
work with the animals?"
"Oh Papa," Rosamunde laughed, unconcerned by his apparent temper.
"You know that it is my choice. We must all work at something and I prefer
the stables to scrubbing the convent floors." The last of her statement was
a distracted mutter as she turned back to whatever it was she was doing.
Henry's curiosity drew him forward. "What are you doing?"
Rosamunde glanced up, a scowl of anxiety on her face. "The mare has been
in labor for more than a day now. She is losing strength. I fear she shall die
if we do not help her along, but I can not get the foal out."
His brows drawn together, he peered to where her arms disappeared into the
mare at the elbows and horror covered his face. "Why you- What- You-"
Sighing at his dismayed stammering, she calmly explained, "The foal is
backward. I am trying to turn it, but I can not find the foal's head."
brows rose at that. "Will it not hurt the mare having you dig about inside
her like that?"
"I do not know," she muttered distractedly, reaching further into
the animal. "But both mother and foal shall surely die if something is not
"Aye...Well..." Frowning at her back, he said, "Leave that for...er..."
He arched a questioning eyebrow toward the nun now moving back toward Rosamunde
and the mare.
"Sister Eustice," Lady Adela supplied helpfully.
"Aye. Sister Eustice. Leave it to the sister to deal with, daughter. I
do not have long here and-"
"Oh, I could not do that, Papa. It would ruin the sleeves of Sister Eustice's
gown. This will not take long, I am sure, and then-"
"I do not give a damn about Sister's sleeves," Henry snapped, starting
forward to drag her away bodily if need be, but a pleading glance from his daughter
made him halt. She did look so like her mother. Henry had found it impossible
to refuse the mother anything. Why should their daughter be different?
Sighing, he removed his cloak and handed it to Eustice, then shrugged out of
his short surcoat and handed that over as well.
"Who taught you to do this?" he asked gruffly, bending to kneel beside
her in the straw.
"No one," she admitted, flashing him a smile that warmed his heart
and immediately made him let go of his impatience and anger. "It just seemed
to be the thing to do when I saw the problem. She will die otherwise."
Nodding, he shifted as close to her as he could get and reached his hands inside
the mare to help her. "It is the head you can not find?"
Rosamunde nodded. "I have his rear legs, but I can not-"
"Ah ha! I have it... It is caught on something. There we go."
Rosamunde felt the back legs slip from her grip and shift away. She just managed
to tug her hands free of the mare as her father turned the animal within it's
mother until it's head was at the right angle.
"The mare is too weak. You will have to-" Even as the words left
her mouth, her father tugged on the foal's head and front legs. Seconds later
it slid out onto the straw.
"Ohhh," Rosamunde breathed, peering over the spindly legged creature
as it wriggled on the straw. "Is it not adorable?"
"Aye," Henry agreed gruffly, then cleared his throat, grabbed her
arm and urged her to her feet. "Come. Time is short. 'Sides, 'tis not fitting
for a girl of your position to be participating in such things."
"Oh Papa." Laughing, Rosamunde turned and threw herself into his
arms as she had when she was a child. Henry quickly closed his arms around her
and gave up the reprimand as she knew he would.
"So that is the King's daughter."
Aric shifted on his feet, his gaze leaving the girl the King was embracing,
to glance at his friend. "It would seem so."
"She is lovely."
"Quite," Aric agreed quietly. "Unless my memory fails me, she
appears almost a copy of the Fair Rosamunde."
"Your memory fails you not. She is an exact likeness of her mother,"
Shrewsbury agreed, adding with a small smile, "Except for the hair. That
is wholly her father's. Let us hope she did not inherit his quick temper along
"She has been raised right, my Lord Bishop. With all discipline and goodness,
and the disobedience beat out of her," The Abbess announced staunchly, glaring
at Shrewsbury for the very suggestion that she might not have been. Then, seeming
to regain herself, she forced a smile and in a much more pious tone murmured,
"It is most gratifying that his majesty received my message. We feared when
we heard that he was in Normandy that he might not receive the news in time to
make it back for the ceremony."
Aric exchanged a glance with Robert, then asked carefully, "What ceremony?"
"What ceremony?" Adela echoed with amazement. "Why Lady Rosamunde
takes the veil tomorrow."
There was dead silence for a moment after that announcement, then Robert murmured,
"The King will no doubt be a bit surprised by that knowledge."
"WHAT!!!" Henry's roar drew their attention.
"I believe he just learned," Aric muttered. Henrys a sight to see.
His face bore a furious scowl and was so red as to seem almost purple. Even his
graying hair seemed to have picked up some of the fire of his temper and shone
more red than gray as he stormed angrily toward them, hands and teeth clenched.
His daughter was hard on his heels, a startled and somewhat bewildered expression
on her face. "I thought you knew, Papa. I thought you had received my message
and come to witness-" Her words came to an abrupt halt when her father paused
in his stride and swung on her in a fury.
"It shall not happen! Do you hear me? You are not, I repeat NOT going
to be a nun."
"Your mother - God rest her soul - insisted on the same thing ere she
died and I could do naught about it. But I can and will do something now. I am
your father, and I will not allow you to throw your life away by becoming a nun."
Rosamunde looked briefly stunned at those words, then seeing the stiff expression
on the Abbess face at the insult in his words, she allowed her temper loose. "It
is not throwing my life away! 'Tis perfectly acceptable to become a bride of God!
"Will God see you blessed with children?" Henry spat, interrupting
her curt words.
She looked taken aback briefly at that, then regained herself to snap, "Mayhap.
He saw Mary blessed with Jesus."
"Jesus?" For a moment it looked as though he might explode, or have
a heart attack. His face was so red as to be almost purple with his rage.
It was the Bishop who intervened, drawing his attention with the gentle words,
"Your Majesty, it is a great honor to become a bride of God. If Rosamunde
truly has a calling, it is not well done to force her to-"
"YOU!" Henry turned on the man. "I will not hear your religious
drivel. Thanks to your dilly dallying, we nearly did not arrive here in time.
MY GOD! If I hadn't chanced to hear of Aric's broken betrothal and saved a day's
riding by choosing him to groom, instead of Rosshuen, we would have been too late!"
Whirling on the Abbess, he roared, "Why was I not informed of these plans?!"
The Abbess blinked at him, taken aback. "We- I thought you knew, my Liege.
It was Rosamunde's mother's wish that she follow in her footsteps and become a
nun. She said so on her death bed. And you have never arranged a betrothal, I
thought you agreed."
"I do not agree," he snapped, then added, "And I have been making
arrangements. But what I meant was, why was I not informed of the upcoming ceremony
for her to take the veil?"
"Well...I do not know your majesty. I did send word. Some time ago in
fact. It should have reached you in plenty of time for you to attend. We hoped
The King turned on Shrewsbury again at that news, eyes narrowed and accusing,
but the Bishop merely shrugged and murmured, "We have been moving around
quite a bit, my Liege. Le Mans then Chinon.... Mayhap it arrived after we left.
I shall, of course, look into it the moment we return."
Henry glared at him briefly, then turned on his daughter. "You are not
taking the veil. You will marry. You are the only child of mine who has not turned
against me. I will see grandchildren from you."
"John has never turned against you."
"Not according to the gossips."
"That is just gossip," she argued with disdain.
"And if 'tis true?"
Her mouth thinned at the possibility. For truly no man in history had suffered
so by betrayal as her father. Every one of his legitimate son's, her half brothers,
had come to turn on him under the influence of their mother, the Queen Eleanor.
"Then there are still William and Geoffrey," she whispered, mentioning
Henry's other two bastard children.
His expression turned solemn at that and he reached out to clasp her by the
shoulders. "But they were not born of my Fair Rosamunde. The love of my life.
I am a selfish old man, child. I would see the fruit of our love grow and bloom
and cast it's seeds across the land, not be stifled and die here in this convent."
Rosamunde sighed at that, her shoulders slumping in defeat. "And so I
shall marry. Who is my groom?"
Aric stiffened as the King suddenly turned toward him.
"Burkhart." The King gestured for him to step forward and Aric unconsciously
straightened his shoulders as he did so. "My daughter, Rosamunde. Daughter,
your husband, Aric of Burkhart."
"How do you do, my Lord?" she murmured politely, extending her hand.
Then, grimacing apologetically as she saw it's less than pristine condition, she
retracted it and dropped a quick curtsy instead. "I regret my apparel, but
we were not expecting company today."
Before Aric could even murmur a polite greeting in response, the King announced,
"You should change."
Her head whipped around. "Change?"
"Aye. You will not wish to be wed looking so."
"The wedding is to take place now?" Dismay was the only word to describe
her reaction and Aric could actually sympathize with her on that. It was all a
bit dismaying to him as well.
"As soon as you are changed. I must return to Chinon."
"See her changed," the King ordered Sister Eustice, then snatched
up Adela's arm and urged her out of the building. "I would have a word with
Rosamunde gaped after them, then glanced to Eustice with a start when the sister
took her arm and urged her to follow. "I am to be married."
"Aye." Eustice glanced worriedly at the girl as they stepped out
of the stables. The child was unnaturally pale.
"I thought I was going to be a nun like you."
"Everything will be fine," Eustice murmured reassuringly, directing
her through the convent doors and down the hallway to the left. King Henry and
Adela were already out of sight.
"Aye," Rosamunde agreed, drawing herself up slightly. "All will
be well." Then her shoulders slumped, and she whispered bewilderedly, "But
I was to be a nun."
"It would seem you were not to be after all."
"Oh, but I was," Rosamunde paused to assure her quickly. "I
knew from long ago that I was to be a nun. My mother wished it so. She told the
Abbess. And my father never arranged a betrothal. I was raised to be a nun."
"It would seem not," Eustice corrected gently.
"But what if the Lord wants me to be a nun? What if he is angered that
I am not to be one?"
"'Tis more likely the Good Lord has his own plans for you, Rosamunde.
Else he would have stopped your father arriving until after it was done. Would
Frowning, Rosamunde tilted her head to consider that and Sister Eustice continued,
"It seems to me that it must have been God himself who lead your father here
in time to prevent your taking the veil. Were he even a day later in arriving,
the ceremony would have been done by now."
"Aye," Rosamunde murmured uncertainly. "But why would God wish
me to marry when there is so much good I might do as a nun?"
"Mayhap He has something more important for you to do as wife that you
could not accomplish as a nun."
"Mayhap," she murmured, but it was obvious by her tone that she was
having trouble fathoming that possibility.
Sighing to herself, Eustice urged her into moving along the hall again, managing
to get her to the small cell that had been Rosamunde's room since childhood. Ushering
the still stunned girl inside, she urged her to sit on the side of her tiny, hard
bed, then turned to search through her small chest for the white gown the girl
had made for taking the veil the next day. Coming up empty handed, she whirled
to frown at Rosamunde. "Where is your white gown?"
Rosamunde glanced up distractedly. "White gown? Oh, Sister Margaret offered
to hang it for me for tomorrow to let out any wrinkles."
Nodding, Eustice turned toward the door. "Wait here. I shall return directly."
Rosamunde watched the door close behind her friend and mentor, then sank back
on the bed with a sigh. She was having difficulty absorbing what was happening.
Just that morning, her life had been set, her path a comfortable secure one. Now,
events seemed to have careened out of control, changing the course of her life,
and she was not sure it was in a direction which she wished to go. It looked like
she had little choice however. Her father's decisions were law. For everyone.
So, she would be married.
To a man she had never met before and had got only a fleeting glimpse of but
moments ago when her father had introduced them. She could have looked at him
longer, but had found herself suddenly shy. Rosamunde had never experienced shyness
before. But then she had had very little occasion to be in the presence of men
during her life. The only men she had ever even met were her father, his servant
and constant companion Bishop Shrewsbury, and Father Abernott, the priest who
ministered the Sunday mass at the Abbey. The reverend mother did the mass the
rest of the week.
There had been that stable boy when she was younger. But he had not been around
long. A week perhaps, then he had cornered her in a stall, and pressed his lips
against hers. Too startled to react at first, Rosamunde had just stood there,
then by the time she had got over her surprise, curiosity and the beginnings of
a surprised sort of shivery pleasure had kept her from protesting. Much to her
shame, she hadn't even stopped him when he had covered one of her budding breasts
with his hand.
Rosamunde had considered stopping him, knowing that anything that felt that
wickedly interesting had to be a sin, for surely everything fun did seem to be
sinful according to the sisters. But she would never know if she would have stopped
him on her own, for Eustice had stopped him for her. One minute she had been wrapped
in his enthusiastic embrace, and the next he'd been dragged away from her and
was having his ears boxed by the good sister. Then she had dragged Rosamunde off
to lecture her that she must never let a man kiss and touch her so again. It was
evil. Lips were for speaking, and breasts for milking and that was that.
The Abbess had sent the stable boy back home that very day.
"She did not look pleased at the news of her upcoming marriage,"
Shifting on the bench seat where the nuns had presented a meal for the men
to consume as they waited, Aric turned his gaze from the food he was unable to
eat - despite how delicious it looked - and peered at his friend. "Nay,"
he agreed dismally.
"Well, mayhap 'tis just a result of surprise."
"Hmm." Aric nodded with little conviction.
"She is quite lovely."
"Hmmm." He looked far from happy about that fact and Robert sighed.
"Surely you do not fear she will be unfaithful? She was raised in a convent,
man. She could not have learned the lying cheating ways of a faithless wife."
Aric was silent for a moment, then shifted his position at the table and murmured,
"Do you recall my cousin, Clothilde?"
"Clothilde?" He thought briefly, then nodded. "Oh aye. The girl
who's mother would not allow her sweets, lest she grow in size, or lose all her
teeth ere she married."
"Aye." Aric grimaced. "Not a single sweet passed her lips ere
her marriage, but they had a great tray of them at her wedding feast."
"Aye." Robert laughed as he recalled the event. "She quite liked
sweets once she tried them. As I recall, she near ate the whole tray all on her
"Aye. She still likes them. Perhaps more so because she was deprived them
for so long. In the two years since her marriage, she has grown to six times her
original size, and lost three teeth at last count."
Robert winced at the picture that created in his head, then frowned. "Do
not tell me you fear your wife will grow over large and lose her teeth?"
Aric rolled his eyes at his friend's lack of perception, then sighed. "What
is missing in a convent?"
"Well, I realize they can be strict in these places, still I am sure they
have the occasional sweet or-"
"Forget the blasted sweets!" Aric snapped impatiently. "It is
men. Men are missing in convents."
"Aye, well, but that is the very reason behind their existence and- Oh!"
A chagrined look on his face, he shook his head. "I think I see. You fear
that having been deprived of the company of men all these years, your wife will
find herself over fond of their company on leaving."
Aric muttered under his breath and turned away with mild disgust at the length
of time it had taken to get his point across. Surely his friend had not always
been so dense?
"Aric. Friend. I would not allow Delia's behavior to color your views.
She was raised by her Uncle, Lord Stratam, the most notorious reprobate in the
"My mother was not."
"Ah," he sighed.
"She was raised most strictly."
"And she could not contain her passions."
Robert shook his head. "I can see you will not be easily reassured, but
'tis not as bad as all that. If you fear she will become over fond of the company
of men, you merely have to keep her away from court and the affairs and intrigues
that occur there. Keep her in the country where the only men she may meet are
peasants and serfs. Surely she was brought up with enough honor not to dally with
one of them," he pointed out in an effort to encourage his friend.
"Oh aye, the King would most like be very pleased does he not see his
daughter again," Aric muttered sarcastically and Robert frowned.
"Aye, there is that. He will most like wish her at court on occasion."
"Most like," Aric agreed dryly.
"He appears to hold great affection for her." His frown deepened
as he thought on that. "That could be a problem, could it not? Jesu! A King
for father-in-law," he marveled now in horror as he realized the full significance
of it. "Do you not make her happy, he could still have you drawn and quartered.
What a spot to be in!"
"Stop trying to make me feel better."
Rosamunde's fretting ended abruptly at the opening of the door. Sighing, she
pushed herself to a sitting position as Sister Eustice re-entered, the gown she
had fetched lying carefully over her arm to avoid creasing it.
"The creases are all gone, fortunately enough," Sister informed her
and started to push the cell door closed, only to pause when the Abbess called
out from the hallway. By the time she arrived at the door, both women were waiting
curiously. Adela took one look at Rosamunde's telling expression and hurried forward.
"Oh, my dear child," she murmured soothingly, seating herself on
the cot beside the girl to embrace her briefly. "All will be well. You will
see. God has a special path for you to follow and you must trust in him."
"Aye, 'tis what Sister Eustice said," Rosamunde whispered as tears
welled in her eyes. Oddly enough the small droplets of liquid had not threatened
until the very moment that the Abbess offered her comfort. It had always been
that way. While both Eustice and the Abbess had taken the place of her mother
on that beautiful woman's death, it was the Abbess who Rosamunde had turned to
to bandage her banged up knees, and soothe her hurts. And it never failed that
Rosamunde could stand absolutely anything with a stiff upper lip and grim smile
until the Abbess came around, then she handed over her burden and broke down.
"Oh now, shh my child. Do not cry. You must have faith in the Lord. He
chose this path for you. Surely there is a reason."
"I am not crying out of fear of what is to come. Well," she corrected
honestly. "Mostly I am not. Mostly I am crying for what is ending."
Expression bewildered, the Abbess shook her head slightly. "For what is
"I will have to leave you all. The only family I have ever known. Aside
from my father," she added loyally.
Eustice and Adela shared a dismayed look, their own eyes quickly filling with
tears at the realization that they had been too distracted to face until then.
"Well..." Sister Eustice glanced desperately around, everywhere but
at the sweet child who had been her student in the stables since a small child.
Young Rosamunde had latched onto Eustice's voluminous skirts and trailed her around
the moment she had gained her feet and been able to walk. In truth, the nun had
come to feel much like a surrogate mother to the girl herself over the years,
and quite enjoyed passing on her own knowledge as well as learning from the child.
The idea of losing her now was untenable.
"Aye," Adela murmured unhappily, her watery gaze on the floor as
she considered her own loss in all of this. She had been taken with Rosamunde
from her birth. Her red curls and sweet smile had melted her heart as only a child
could. Contrary to tradition, she herself had overseen the girl's lessons in the
school room. Spending hour after hour feeding her expanding mind, encouraging
patience, and curbing the temper that seemed always to come with red-heads. The
reward for her effort had been great. She too had gained a daughter. A physical
pain, as if a tearing of her heart in half brought her abruptly to her feet.
"Every bird must leave the nest one day," she said practically and
moved to the door, only to pause and glance back uncertainly. "I never thought
you would leave us. There was no betrothal." She sighed unhappily. "Thinking
you would not need the knowledge, there was much I neglected to teach you about
marriage and the marital bed."
"The marital bed?" Rosamunde frowned worriedly as she noted the sudden
stain of embarrassment on the older woman's cheeks.
The Abbess stared at her at a loss for a moment, then turned abruptly away.
"Sister Eustice shall enlighten you," she muttered. Then she opened
the door and slipped out of the room, pausing to turn back and add, "But
quickly sister. The King is most impatient to have this business done."
The door closed then, leaving Eustice staring at it rather blankly.
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